A thoughtful and heartfelt middle grade novel by American Indian Youth Literature Honor–winning author Christine Day (Upper Skagit), about a girl whose hopeful plans for Indigenous Peoples’ Day (and plans to ask her crush to the school dance) go all wrong—until she finds herself surrounded by the love of her Indigenous family and community at an intertribal powwow.
Wesley is proud of the poem she wrote for Indigenous Peoples’ Day—but the reaction from a teacher makes her wonder if expressing herself is important enough. And due to the specific tribal laws of her family’s Nation, Wesley is unable to enroll in the Upper Skagit tribe and is left feeling “not Native enough.” Through the course of the novel, with the help of her family and friends, she comes to embrace her own place within the Native community.
Christine Day's debut, I Can Make This Promise, was an American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award Honor Book, was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, the Chicago Public Library, and NPR, and was also picked as a Charlotte Huck Honor Book. Her sophomore novel, The Sea in Winter, was an American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award Honor Book, as well as named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus and School Library Journal.
We Still Belong is an accessible, enjoyable, and important novel from an author who always delivers.
About the Author
Christine Day (Upper Skagit) is the author of The Sea in Winter and I Can Make This Promise, which was a best book of the year from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, NPR, and the Chicago Public Library, as well as an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book and a Charlotte Huck Award Honor Book. You can visit her online at bychristineday.com
“Christine Day has told a story that doesn’t shy away from hard truths of the past and the present. But with a keen ear for the voice of an Indigenous girl finding her way, with compassion and love and poetry, this is a celebration of community, family, and identity. It will stay with you for a long time, in the best possible way.” — David A. Robertson, author of the Misewa Saga series
“Wesley Wilder is big-hearted, thoughtful and kind. She’s figuring out who she is in the context of a wonderful family while bravely becoming her unique, starry self--and she holds space for readers to do the same. I can’t wait for them to meet her." — Natalie Lloyd, author of A Snicker of Magic and Hummingbird
"Told over the course of one day, this cozy and warm story captured my heart. Readers will root for Wesley as she follows her heart and finds her voice. An important story of belonging and identity." — Jasmine Warga, author of Other Words for Home
“Christine Day writes books I want to crawl inside of. Here she brings us a cast of beautifully-drawn characters and creates a heartfelt story about young crushes, blooming friendships, and finding--and claiming--belonging.” — Tae Keller, Newbery Medal winning author of When You Trap a Tiger
"This story, which weaves diversity into the supporting cast, incorporates layers of Native identity throughout, as Wesley connects with a new friend who is a young Native activist, learning more about Christopher Columbus. A rich, captivating story that will resonate with readers." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"This is a story of quiet determination and triumph, with well-defined characters who push each other and are there for each other, and which culminates in sweet heart-to-heart conversations at a powwow in a high-school gym." — Horn Book Magazine
"Via Wesley’s self-aware and astoundingly perceptive first-person voice, Day highlights everyday tween conflicts about fitting in alongside experiential concerns surrounding identifying with one’s heritage in this warmhearted approach to searching for—and finding—community and inclusion." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Cozy descriptions, likable characters, and teachable moments animate this occasionally didactic but ultimately heartwarming story about belonging. Acutely relatable and contemporary, this snapshot of a single day in Wesley’s life authentically captures the struggle of being 12 and of finding—and using—your voice." — Booklist (starred review)
"'We Still Belong,' the title of Wesley’s poem, becomes an essential invitation for children of all backgrounds." [audio edition] — School Library Journal